A way to help Haitians help Haiti

Episcopal missionary to Haiti, Lauren Stanley, passed on another great way to help Haitians help Haiti. Read on, and if you are able, please help:



From Lauren Stanley’s Blog, “Go into the World”

The Department of Homeland Security recently gave Haitians living in the United States prior to the Jan. 12 earthquake permission to apply for Temporary Protected Status, which would allow them to obtain 18-month work visas. The idea behind this move: Let Haitians remain in the U.S. to earn money so that they can help support the rebuilding of that devastated nation.

While the idea is marvelous, there is a snag: It costs nearly $500 to apply for the status. Most Haitians cannot afford that kind of money.

A law firm in Washington, D.C., Hunton & Williams LLP, has taken up the cause for Haitians, and is doing pro bono work to lobby the U.S. government to waive the fees for Haitians. Among those who have signed on to the letter that was sent to the government on Monday: The Episcopal Church, including the Presiding Bishop, the Bishop of Haiti, and the Bishops of Washington, Southeast Florida, Milwaukee and the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe.

It’s not to late to get your dioceses and organizations to sign on. Read the press release below, then contact the PR person for Hunton & Williams. Together, we can help Haitians have the ability to help Haiti.

– The Rev. Lauren R. Stanley, Missionary in Haiti, Assistant to Bishop Duracin

The press release from Monday:

Coalition of U.S. Charities Launches Effort

to Support Long Term Haiti Rebuilding

Waiving Costly TPS Application Fees Could Lead to More Than $1 Billion in Relief

Washington — March 15, 2010 — Hunton & Williams LLP, on behalf of Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services, the Episcopal Bishop of Haiti, and a coalition of 49 U.S. charitable organizations, has launched an effort to put as much as $1 billion directly into the Haitian economy over the next three years as the country recovers from the recent devastating earthquake.

In a letter delivered on Monday to Alejandro Mayorkas, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), Charles Schumer (D-New York), Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) and Lamar Smith (R-Texas); and Members of the House of Representatives John Conyers (D-Michigan), Steve King (R-Iowa) and Zoe Lofgren (D-California), the coalition has asked the U.S. government to waive fees for Haitian nationals applying for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The group believes eliminating these fees will increase the remittances Haitians send home to their families, money that is critical to any long-term rebuilding programs led by the United States.

“Haitian nationals living abroad already send between $1.5 and $1.8 billion a year home to their relatives. An estimated one-third of the families in Port-au-Prince alone relied on remittances in 2009,” said Debi Sanders, Government Liaison and Pro Bono Coordinator for Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services. “Now, as Haiti confronts the massive task of rebuilding, this money will play a crucial role in ensuring the stability of the country and the future of its people.”

“On behalf of the Bishop of Haiti, the Rt. Rev. Jean Zaché Duracin, the people of the Episcopal Church of Haiti, and all Haitians, we are deeply grateful that this coalition is working so hard to help all Haitians in the United States,” said the Rev. Lauren R. Stanley, Assistant to Bishop Duracin. “It is very important for Haitians not only to be able to stay in America, but to earn a living so that they can participate in the recovery of Haiti following this devastating earthquake.”

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